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  • The Unexpected Benefits of Yoga and Pilates

  • The Unexpected Benefits of Yoga and Pilates

    Today's guest blogger is Neal McGaffin. He talks about the unexpected benefits of yoga and pilates. Thank you Neal.

    Pilates and yoga are often associated with people into fitness and who are looking to lose weight and tone their bodies, without relying on traditional weights. Some people may also be under the impression that these activities are easy and slow. They are more challenging than you think and have some great benefits.

    While physical fitness and weight loss are great reasons to take up pilates and yoga, these aren't the only benefits. Let's look at some of the lesser known benefits:

  • Yoga and Pilates Improve Bone Density

    We know that muscles improve as we exercise; especially with resistance training and weights; . But you may be surprised to learn that resistance training can improve bone density and this is one of the unexpected benefits of pilates. Pilates resistance comes from apparatus springs as well as resistance bands and mat workouts In yoga, weight-bearing standing postures and balances and inversions, arm balances and the like also improve bone density to the limbs and hips and spine.

    Using the body's own weight, helps to strengthen and tone the body and increase bone density. Yoga puts more pressure on the bone than gravity does. And by opposing one group of muscles against the other, it stimulates osteocytes, the bone making cells.

  • Yoga and Pilates Provide Back Pain Relief

    Pilates repeated across a 12 week period was shown in a study in the Journal of Orthopaedic Sports Physical Therapy to have strengthened muscles assocated with back pain. These muscles are often misaligned and overused and which can cause a number of problems, but pilates can help to relieve and even reverse long lasting back problems. Recommended activities include the roll up and swan preparation.

    Body Soul Yoga in Walton on Thames, Surrey, teaches the approved Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs Institute Yoga course, which is a 12 week course. It is an excellent research proven method for improving back health.  The Annals of Internal Medicine, US Medical Journal, concluded that this 12 week course: "Led to greater improvements in back function than usual care. Yoga appears to be a safe and effective activity that clinicians should be recommending for patients with a history of low back pain."

  • Yoga and Pilates Improve Posture

    Many of us sit behind desks or in the same position for long periods of the day and this has a negative effect on posture. It creates imbalances in muscles and problems like hunched shoulders. Pilates and yoga are an excellent way to retrain the body into good postural positions, as well as improving balance, lengthening muscle and opening the chest and heart space.

  • Yoga and Pilates Create Cardiovascular Endurance

    By increasing and decreasing heart rate in a specific way, Pilates and yoga can help create cardiovascular endurance and make your heart stronger. Postures that are held, such as Warrior pose, crow pose and triangle pose, for example, also serve to improve stamina. Some advanced classes and flowing classes, can result in a heart rate increase to around 120-130 beats per minute, while seated exercises can actually reduce heart rate. This variation is all within the targeted zone for increasing heart health and therefore makes the heart more able to deal with such fluctuations in normal life.

  • Reduces the chance of injury

    Pilates and yoga improve strength, flexibility and balance and these can all reduce the risk of injury. For example, if you increase the flexibility of your hamstrings by 10 degrees, you are far less likely to hurt your back if you pick something up from the floor in the wrong way. Balancing postures reduce the chance of a fall and all forms of pilates and yoga create bodily awareness. This leads to more efficient movement and less stress on joints, muscles and ligaments.

  • Mixes well with other activities

    Gym work, doing the same repetitive activity repeatedly, can be boring. However, by injecting some pilates and yoga activities into your routine, you can not only gain extra benefits from them, but also alleviate that boredom. Pilates and yoga also stretch and elongate muscles that tighten in a gym routine. It can also reduce the risk of overuse in any one part of your body and therefore lower the chance of gym-related injuries.


  • Author Bio

    Neal McGaffin is the owner of Reform, a Pilates studio with studios in Belfast and Edinburgh. He knows the benefits Pilates and yoga can have on the mind, body and soul of his customers. If you would like any more information about pilates and Reform. please contact Neal on: 028 90 660899 and http://reformstudios.uk/

    If you'd like to try yoga please contact Faye, here at Body Soul Yoga Walton on Thames, Surrey:  http://bodysoulyoga.co.uk  and email to:   faye.bodysoulyoga@gmail.com 

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